Tips For Hiring Your Photographer
Hiring your wedding vendors takes a lot of work and lately, there has been an increase of brides and grooms posting disappointing reviews of several wedding vendors on social media sites. Makeup artists and planners taking deposits and not showing up and photographers either falling off the face of the earth or producing almost non-usable images. Reading these stories really make me very sad and makes me think, how can someone do that?
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a bride (not mine), and her story prompted me to write this post.
This particular bride and her fiancee found someone they “trusted”, someone “new” that wanted to get into wedding photography and promised to deliver great images. Even better, it was going to be “FREE”! Well, that backs-fired on them as they received very few images and not a single one they liked. This makes me cringe! How can you not have even one image worthy of hanging on the wall or give to family and friends? On the other hand, if you hear FREE or very inexepensive, that is a huge red flag!
You’ve heard the phrase before: ‘YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”! I too have learned this the hard way from a knucklehead I hired to paint my house and for hiring a “friend” to redo our shower!!! It’s true and many people don’t like to hear it and if the price seems to good to be true, it probably IS.
Why is it different when it’s your wedding? The one day you’ve spend months, sometimes years planning and dreaming of!!!
It’s time to do your homework and look further into the wedding vendors you are considering hiring!
These tips will help avoid disappointment and help you have the best wedding day possible!!!
Step 1 – Figure out your budget
- This can be a tough one considering all the expenses. Food and venue are usually going to be the majority of your budget. How important is the photography to you? For some, it’s at the top of the list and for others not so much. That’s ok. How much of your budget are you willing to put towards photography? Maybe you can skip out on the favors that half the guests end up leaving behind, and put that extra money towards it. Keep in mind that after all that delicious food has been eaten and the dancing is done, you are left with great memories, a wedding dress, and your photographs!
Step 2 – Research your potential photographers (and other vendors)
- Meet them in person!
- Ask for a proof of a business licence and insurance. Don’t be shy. Any legitimate business is happy to provide this to you. A business with both a license AND insurance are less likely to be a scam. This isn’t just for photographers but if you’re hiring a planner, dj, videographer, and even your caterer and cake decorator.
- How long have they been in business and do they have a website or online presence? Google them and see what comes up.
- Ask if they have backup equipment? What if their camera fails during the ceremony and they only have one camera, what happens to the rest of your day?
- Do they provide you with edited images? Many professional photographers are hired not only for their photographic skills, but also for their editing styles. Some are bright and airy, some dark and moody, etc… the photographer’s editing style is part of what you are paying for and is what drew you to that photographer’s work in the first place. It takes time, education, and experience to get to that level.
- View their portfolios and ask to view ENTIRE wedding days. Online portfolio’s can be very deceiving and a handful of great images does not mean all your photos will look like that. I’ve heard many times that someone had amazing images on their website and they didn’t produce the same work.
Step 3 – You MUST have a contract
- I can’t stress this enough. A lot of these disappointed couples did not have a contract. If your potential photographer (or planner, hairstylist, MUA) says you don’t need one, look elsewhere. A contract protects both the client and the vendor. If you hand over money to hire someone and they don’t show up and there is no contract, you’re out that money and there isn’t much you can do. It’s your word against theirs. A contract states exactly what services they are providing and how much you have paid.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to go out and spend $5000 or $10000 in order to have great wedding photos. There is a wedding photographer out there for everyone and for every budget, but you MUST do your research. Ultimately, it really is the responsibility of the bride and groom. If you have a small budget for photography, that’s fine but make sure you really know what you are getting in advance. Ask questions and if there is a photographer that you love that is a little out of your price range, contact them to see if they offer payment plans – many do!
If you are offered FREE photography or a very low price (because they are new or want to add a wedding to their portfolio), you need to ask questions. Do you want to be the guinea pig wedding and take the risk? How long have they been shooting for? Have they photographed people? If they only have cats and cars on their website, you might want to reconsider. I know that everyone has to start somewhere but there are other ways to get experience.
I hope these tips can help someone out there with their search and hiring their wedding photographer and other vendors! If you have any questions at all, please ask!
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